Starting this fall, Orange to offer two free tech-focused MOOCs

Jul 16, 2014
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Orange continues to broaden its digital reach, announcing that it will be making its first forays into the MOOC space. Starting in September, Orange will launch two free MOOCs focusing on digital technology. To target a broader population with this initiative, Orange has teamed-up with Pôle Emploi (France’s unemployment agency).

The first course will focus on programming.  Titled ‘Decoder le Code’, the course will be delivered in conjunction with Simplon.co, an organization training underrepresented communities on web development. The second will focus on web consulting, which was based on content Orange used for internal trainings around this subject that they decided to open up to the broader public. Both classes will be offered via Orange’s e-learning platform Solerni.

One of the big positives about this initiatives is that it provides a tech introduction to those who either may not have been exposed to tech careers in the past or allows those who have been in the sector in the past, to brush up on their skills and get back into the workforce. Of course, Orange’s motivations for launching the initiative aren’t entirely altruistic because the courses are also an obvious way to for them identify talent in communities that are less well-represented at Orange;  namely, the unemployed (particularly the long-term unemployed), those in rural areas and women. Of course doing one or two MOOCs won’t give them the full training they’d need to be a programmer for example. But the course can help Orange see potential, which Orange can further develop with the candidate through additional training once they’ve been hired in a temporary or permanent role.

France has been a lot slower than its neighbors to embrace the potential of MOOCs. Over the last two years however, we began to see a lot of activity in this sector with various new entrants and innovations popping up, including the governement’s FUN initiative, startup Neodemia, who’ve teamed up with large companies such as BNP and audit-leader BDO to deliver highly-specialized, high-value MOOCs, MOOC Francophone which helps you find MOOCs throughout France, and 360Learning who raised 1.2 milion eur last year to enable enterprises to build their own MOOCs. Perhaps Orange’s forays into the world of MOOCs will help encourage even futher the development of the sector here.